Virginia leader of Bloods gang gets 20 years for drug trafficking and gun crimes

    Tarvell Vandiver of Triangle, Va. in 2015 mugshot. (Prince William County Police)

    Tarvell Vandiver, 29, the leader of a Northern Virginia division of the national gang, United Blood Nation, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on drug trafficking and gun charges.

    Vandiver of Triangle, Virginia was arrested along with than 40 people in DC, Maryland, and Virginia in December 2017 as part of Operation Tin Panda, a gang-related sting operation conducted by the ATF, the FBI, and local law enforcement.

    Vandiver was a long-time member of the Imperial Gangsta Blood gang (IGB), according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He had been acting as the “superior” of the IGB, a “hood” of the United Blood Nation.

    As of September, 39 defendants had been convicted on federal firearms and drug charges as part of Operation Tin Panda, including Vandiver’s stepfather, Rashourn Niles, 37, of Woodbridge. Niles pled guilty in April to distributing cocaine and heroin. Niles supplied cocaine to Vandiver and taught him how to manufacture “crack” cocaine, according to the U.S. Attorney's statement.

    Vandiver oversaw the IGB in the region, including the distribution of controlled substances and buying illegal firearms, according to court documents. He coordinated with gang leaders in other states and was the disciplinary officer.

    Vandiver was recently convicted in D.C. Superior Court for his role in conspiring to commit murder in Washington.

    According to the U.S. Attorney’s statement:

    In collaboration with federal and local law enforcement, investigators and prosecutors began jointly investigating Blood gangs and other drug distributors involved in violent crime and other criminal activity in northern Virginia. Multiple criminal acts were tied to gang and drug activity, including homicide, malicious wounding, robbery, shootings, and drug and firearms distribution.

    As part of Operation Tin Panda, officers seized about three pounds of cocaine base, 10 pounds of cocaine, seven pounds of crystal methamphetamine, five pounds of heroin, four pounds of ecstasy, 227 pounds of marijuana, and 79 pounds of THC, along with more than 95 firearms, $150,000 in cash, nine vehicles valued at more than $300,000, according to the statement.

    WATCH: ABC7's Brad Bell reported on the operation in December 2017:

    Operation Tin Panda was carried out by the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force, led by the ATF’s Washington Field Division and the FBI’s Washington Field Office Safe Streets Task Force.

    Also participating in the operation were the DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Prince William County Police, Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, Fairfax County Police, Alexandria Police, Stafford County Sherriff’s Office, Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office, King George County Sheriff’s Office, Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Prince George’s County Police, and DC’s Metropolitan Police Department.

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